American Gods (2017) s02e04 Episode Script

The Greatest Story Ever Told

1 MR.
WEDNESDAY: Keep an eye out for her dearly beloved.
Little bird told me Shadow's on his way.
SHADOW: I just need to get to Cairo.
It's Cay-row.
It's Cay-row? Cay-row? I was old in the desert before they sacrificed the first horse to you.
I will be heard.
MR.
WORLD: I wonder, if you don't choose a side, will you be trampled by both? MR.
WEDNESDAY: Mrs.
Moon and I have a date with my old friend Argus.
The man with all the eyes Argus Panoptes.
I need you to kill him.
He's been playing both sides and I need to get him off the field.
He dies, your coin recharges.
Live to see the future with Shadow that you've put so much unearned faith in.
TECHNICAL BOY: I told Argus to upgrade this hub eons ago! Get your man in line! TECHNICAL BOY: Um, guys? Never mind.
[SOFT MUSIC.]
[THEME MUSIC.]
[COMPUTER PINGS.]
[COMPUTER BEEPS.]
[COMPUTER PINGS.]
[COMPUTER BEEPS.]
[COMPUTER PINGS.]
[COMPUTER PINGS.]
[COMPUTER BEEPS.]
[FAST PIANO PLAYING.]
[COMPUTER BEEPS.]
[ROCK MUSIC.]
baby.
Rock! Let's rock, yeah.
we care a lot about the dangers and the pressures and the, we care a lot about the smack and crack and whack that is the, [MUSIC STOPS.]
Listen.
[BACH'S CHACONNE FOR VIOLIN PLAYING.]
I know Bach.
Listen.
He'd only just returned from a trip to find that his wife had died.
Bach had already lost three children.
He would lose seven more.
This is grief.
And yet The rising notes of joy shattering his own rules.
Can you hear it? This is how men like me pray.
- [ROCK MUSIC.]
- [FAST PIANO PLAYING.]
[ROCK MUSIC.]
Why go out.
Why go home.
Why go out [BACH'S CHACONNE PLAYING AT A DISTANCE.]
[VIOLINIST PLAYING CHACONNE BADLY.]
[VIOLINIST STOPS PLAYING.]
Play it again.
[VIOLINIST PLAYING CHACONNE BADLY.]
[SERENE PIANO MUSIC.]
This is It's beautiful, like Bach.
You composed this? Well, I-I created the engine that did.
I translated all of Bach's cantatas into a database then wrote a program that segmented the notes into digital objects the way that Bach statistically intended to.
Um [MUSIC PLAYING ON COMPUTER.]
But everything it created was mechanical, artificial.
The real insight was in programming violations to the predictable variations.
I gave it permission to shatter the rules.
The computer composed this? Yeah.
[COMPUTER CONTINUES PLAYING MUSIC.]
It's writing more now.
[STRING ENSEMBLE PLAYING COMPUTER-COMPOSED MUSIC.]
[ELECTRONIC MUSIC.]
[THUNDER CRASHES.]
[THUNDER RUMBLES.]
- [THUNDER RUMBLES.]
- [CAT MEOWS.]
I'm glad you came.
No, no, no, no.
My wife, she'll kill you.
Not me.
[BREATHING DEEPLY.]
[GRUNTING.]
[PANTING.]
Let it happen.
[SHADOW GRUNTS.]
[BREATHING DEEPLY.]
[PANTING.]
[SHADOW GRUNTING.]
Now rest.
Let it go.
[BIRDS CHIRPING.]
[CAT MEOWS.]
[CAT PURRS.]
[CAT MEOWS.]
[CAT MEOWS.]
[CLEARS THROAT.]
Good morning.
Did you sleep well? Huh? Did you sleep well? Well, there was Well Yeah.
Yeah, it was good.
Good.
So, this is a coroner's office? Coroners are a political appointment around here.
His job is to kick the corpse.
If it doesn't kick him back, he signs the death certificate.
I'm what they call a prosector.
I work for the county medical examiner.
I do autopsies and save tissue samples for analysis.
In addition, we are a funeral parlor, serving Cairo, Illinois, since 1863 when it was a flourishing town at the crossing of two rivers.
We could go back much longer than that, of course, but it wasn't until the War Between the States that we found our niche.
That was when we became the funeral parlor for the colored folks hereabouts.
[CAT MEOWS.]
[WHISTLING.]
Before that, no one thought of us as colored Foreign maybe, exotic and dark, but not colored.
And it's strange, when they talk about African Americans.
My colleagues and I never thought of ourselves as African.
We were the people of the Nile.
And then you settle in a town called Cairo? Seems appropriate.
Mm.
Chicken.
Egg.
[CLATTERING.]
Was there, uh Was there anyone else around? She's not here.
Your wife.
You know where she is? No.
Mr.
Ibis, please.
They're different when they come back.
Like any formative life experience, death changes you.
I'm sure your wife is lovely, but she's not the same person she was.
[SCOFFS.]
MR.
WEDNESDAY: Good.
You're up! So, should we seize the day by the ass before she finds a new dance partner? And then, where would we be, huh? Like floral patterns on a wall.
[INHALES DEEPLY.]
Oh.
What a beautiful day for a drive, Shadow.
Did you get a good night's sleep, huh? Time to heal your wounds? Someone to lick your wounds? Mm? I need to find Laura.
She's around here somewhere.
I don't know why, it's weird, but I feel it.
Only humans could've come up with monogamy, an unnatural concept.
Enjoy your life, my boy.
Fuck it, embrace it, exercise neither temperance nor restraint, and leave the past where it belongs: in the past.
Now, forward to St.
Louis.
What's in St.
Louis? Big city, big money.
Betty here doesn't run on butterflies and wishes.
Money is the most influential god in America.
Untouchable asshole, but his stock never falls.
[CAR ENGINE STARTS.]
[EERIE MUSIC.]
How you know Gramma? You friends with Ida? Who's Ida? My mother.
You look city, so I thought maybe you came here with her.
No.
No.
Figures.
She's not coming down here.
So, what, you just here touristing? I came for a man named Shadow.
Oh.
I'm sorry for your loss.
This casket is empty.
They've got her in the back.
The service is in a day or two.
Then who do you pray to? Reverend Hutchins says that all things are a matter of ideas.
And God is just one idea.
The good reverend enjoys the theater.
He's quoting Beneatha.
Who? Beneatha grew tired of God getting credit for all the things the human race achieves through stubborn effort.
Beneatha is the daughter and nonbeliever from A Raisin in the Sun.
A woman's heart should never be so hidden in God that she cannot hear her own truth.
[MAN CLEARS THROAT.]
According to Maya Angelou, a woman's heart should be hidden in God so that a man has to seek Him just to find her.
My faith is of a different kind.
Must be, the way your ass is crisscrossing back and forth, across the battlefield.
Hither, tither, and yon in the middle of a war.
Like you ain't got a care in the world.
You need not fear me.
World would've had an easier time convincing me to join him if he had not killed Zorya.
Make sure Wednesday understands.
[CHUCKLES.]
So, you crisscrossing and stepping in the name of love? Would you prefer I hide in a foxhole and wait until things are more to your liking? I'd need to carefully consider all the pros and the cons before I could honestly answer that question.
So, uh, you two know each other? Yes.
Biblically.
You're nervous.
The fuck I am.
I need you.
You need me.
[LAUGHS.]
[SIGHS.]
Were you there when Media died? Oh, don't be so aggressively dense.
She didn't die.
She changed into you.
I still feel her inside me.
I wonder if the next version of me will feel me inside of her? And then the next version will feel all of us? Don't you wonder about this stuff? Do you You know the difference between people and animals? Hmm? People are aware they're going to die someday.
And pray to the Old Gods to stop it.
But an animal is ignorant.
I don't get your point.
My point is Media is not a person or an animal.
She, unlike you, understood she's a fucking God.
[LIGHTS FLICKERING.]
I trust you know why I summoned you.
Argus.
It's a setback, for sure.
[BOOMING VOICE.]
: No! No, no.
No more excuses.
War is won with what? - Information.
- Information.
Do you know what this is? Blindness.
This is blindness.
Can you please restore my sight? Oh! I've ah! I've got a plan, brand new network.
Oh I've got a plan! I've got a brand new network that'll be faster than Argus.
I've got a guy in Silicon Valley who fucking owes me.
It'll be a fucking upgrade.
Trust me! [BREATHING HEAVILY.]
[SIGHS.]
Hmm [COUNTRY MUSIC.]
I've loved girls from Maine to California I've held them tight and promised I'd be back But when I leave I climb aboard my semi Then I start makin' one way tracks One way tracks Eighteen wheels at a time One way tracks Sixteen clutch and gears to drive I wouldn't recommend trying to pay with that.
Yeah, you got me thinking.
Ah.
In 1933, Roosevelt took the United States off the Gold Standard, right? Yeah, so? So, you can't just go into a bank and redeem money for gold or silver.
You said money is the most powerful god in America.
But money isn't actually worth anything.
I have a piece of paper, hm? But I want this salt shaker.
You have the salt shaker, but you're willing to take my piece of paper for your salt shaker.
Now, why would you do that? Because this isn't actually a piece of paper; it's a story.
And the story that you've heard over and over and over again.
And it's been drummed into you that this is worth something.
This is of value.
No matter what country, culture, or religion.
The whole world loves money.
The greatest story ever told.
So, Money.
We get him on our side, Mr.
World won't mean shit.
- WEDNESDAY: Oh.
- MAMA-JI: Grimnir.
What do you want? MR.
WEDNESDAY: Well, a cup of coffee would be nice.
Don't you work in Wisconsin? I am at every Motel America.
Entrepreneurship is not some picnic.
Mama-ji and her followers own more than half the motels in America.
And we don't achieve this by sitting on our asses or grifting about like this one.
You think America was eager to hand over her money bags to the hungry, the tired, and the poor? We battle for every goddamn scrap.
You love it.
Victory is sweet on the tongue, and profit is sweet on the pocket.
But you miss the real battles, don't you Kali, eh? The screams and the cries.
I recall the day you slew Raktabija.
The only sound that day was the whisper of the wind whistling through the blood-soaked grass.
- We had a good time, huh? - Mm.
[EERIE MUSIC.]
He will be the death of you.
You know that, right? What'd she say? AUTOMATED VOICE: Welcome.
Please scan finger.
[ELECTRONIC MUSIC.]
Eat a giant bag of dicks.
[PHONE PINGS.]
Uh-huh [CHUCKLES.]
I hate you so much.
[CLASSICAL MUSIC PLAYING.]
Hello, friend.
Hello, friend.
I always thought I might see you again.
Are you here to show me something new? It's time to get back in the game.
One-point-one-zero-two pounds.
Splenomegaly.
Majesty.
Greetings, Thoth.
You are as lovely as ever.
Liar.
This country has not been kind to my face.
You are as perfect and vibrant as the Euphrates.
[CAT MEOWS.]
Your sister.
It has been too long.
Y'all done yet? 'Cuz I'm gettin' bored watchin' this bullshit.
Why do we fight, Anansi? We have known each other since infancy.
We should be on the same side.
I thought we were.
Are we not? MR.
IBIS: Now, Anansi.
She is one of us.
A survivor.
You old as dirt, bird-beak.
Why the fuck you didn't ride the carousel? I choose peace.
[SCOFFS.]
Egyptians told tales of the sacred Book of Thoth, which contains the secrets of the Gods and brings misery, pain, and suffering to anyone who reads it.
And grants a bird's-eye view to he Who writes it.
I am old as dirt, and I have seen things as you have.
Why do you bring this rage to my doorstep? You ever notice how traveling makes your mind roll thunder, like a train moving down the track? Except you don't know where the fuck that mind train is headed.
And then, all of a sudden, plop an idea shits in your head.
And you think that shit smells good.
Peace is a beautiful but shitty idea.
Only a Goddess can adorn the sarcophagus of a God.
So, help me understand what these New Gods giveth and what they taketh away.
Your thirst does not inspire our confidence, only our curiosity.
[CHUCKLES.]
I am not a God in the sense that I can tolerate exploitation, oppression, and repression.
My worshippers know freedom ain't free.
They know the most potent weapon of control for the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.
They know slavery is not a condition.
Slavery is a cult.
Human trafficking is a cult.
Slavery got a rebrand like muthafuckin' the Alt Right.
And snatched.
Another one gone.
Every 30 seconds, another chocolate-brown, caramel, yellow, high-yellow, red bone, refugee girl with melanin in her skin gets snatched.
Every thirty seconds.
And to make matters worse, these dazzling new plantation owners built a pipeline to take our children from school to prison quicker than a cut can bleed.
And the lucky ones go from school to the NFL, where they don't even let them niggahs take a knee.
They've been programmed from birth with shitty food options, contaminated drinking water, gun violence, police brutality, and trauma after trauma after trauma.
PTSD? No therapy.
Missing? No Amber Alert.
Alone? Vulnerable.
Snatched.
Another one gone.
I hear you, Brother.
And I hear them.
I hear each voice, and I write each name.
We have lived long enough to know these troubles are timeless.
Suffering is not sacred.
And moral law is final.
Sooner or later they all lay before me.
War need not be the answer.
ANANSI: [CHUCKLES.]
My Queen.
The world assumes white people are naturally good.
So when something bad happens, it's a good person doing a bad thing.
They assume black people are naturally bad, so when something good happens, it's only a matter of time before that animal's true nature rears its ugly head.
How much longer can we afford to wait? You keep track of days, numbering the years for scribes that record human history.
Do you see progress? I count 1, 2, 3 African Gods in this room, and two of them want to exercise restraint, and let the donkey-work continue while you live your best life! War is upon us! An old white lady is dead.
Wednesday avenges Zorya Vechernyaya, but if it was a dead black lady, like this sweet old soul, Czernobog's hammer [CLICKS TONGUE.]
would not swing.
Your words move me, Anansi.
You see me.
You and Ibis see the Goddess, the Queen.
These men today look right through me.
This country has done things to us.
We have done things to us.
So, what do you propose? MR.
IBIS: I propose we have a drink.
ANANSI: A King needs a Queen.
The death of Argus left an opening.
Argus was a relic, a desiccating, necrotizing, geriatric, organic sack of redundancies.
CCTV? [LAUGHING.]
Fuck that noise! I fart out a coltan-encased microchip in cherry pink and they line up for miles.
Miles! To carry trackers, give up their locations, bank numbers, fucking facial IDs! An endless catalogue of every fuck, every bite, every disgusting nose hair.
Every dirty little secret.
Every whisper they thought no one could hear.
But I digress.
What I'm here to discuss is this.
Argus had a lotta fucking eyes.
But I have given of my flesh to my disciples and they have returned the favor one-thousand fold.
And now? Eyes are [MOUTHING.]
[CHUCKLES.]
You get? You ken? You comprende? [TOY TRAIN HOOTS.]
[CASH REGISTER DINGS.]
About time.
Now what're you doing? What we came to do.
GIRL SCOUTS: Candy? Oh, yes.
I want a gold bar and some nuggets.
[DISTORTED VOICES.]
Credit or debit? - Oh, credit.
- Name? Odin.
The Allfather.
Never failed to pay for my candy.
Your name? Oh, he's just my assistant.
Shadow Moon.
GIRL SCOUTS: There is no account under the name Shadow Moon.
That's not the name on his birth certificate.
There is no account under the name Shadow Moon.
No debit, no credit.
Oh, so, no debit, no credit.
Not even a fucking car loan? What are you, some off-the-grid freak? I never had any need for it.
Laura did it all.
Do you know how much Money hates that? Access denied.
No, this man is not relevant.
He's not looking for an audience.
He's just the hired help.
Access denied.
WOMAN: I am the resurrection and the life.
Those who believe in me will live, even though they die.
I am the resurrection and the life.
Those who believe in me will live, even though they die.
BILQUIS: What does He give you? Jesus? It's either I pray or I run five miles.
And I can't run no more, jacked up my leg in Division One, so I guess he gives me comfort.
A God should provide more than comfort.
He does.
Community.
Feeling like there's a point.
I mean, I'm still mad about my leg, but if I hadn't messed it up, I would probably be in college, and instead I was here with Gramma while she was sick, so maybe it was meant to be.
And maybe I don't gotta be mad about it, you know? Gramma prayed for patience: "Lord, like Job, let me be patient.
" Job was wealthy.
Did her Lord give her wealth? This is Cairo! I don't think money's got our address.
Last week, I was reading this blog, says how in America the black woman makes 60 cents for every dollar a white man makes, and Gramma's all: "Well, here in Cairo, honey, a black woman's lucky if she's got 2 cents to rub together, and even if she's got a pocket full of nickels, that don't mean that that money's gonna make her suck a bedsheet up her ass and fall asleep on a cloud.
" [LAUGHS.]
And then she laughed real hard.
She was pretty sick, but she laughed all the time.
She never let anger or jealousy guide her.
Had her church, had her community.
She took care of me and Jamarr when didn't nobody else want us.
She was content.
He was not content.
He was a rebel, a troublemaker.
They say he died for your sins, but that is not the truth.
He died because he angered the men in power.
He refused to be cowed controlled.
And now look at the power he wields, the worship he commands.
He was onto something.
I'm Ruby.
Ruby Goodchild.
It's good to meet you, Ruby.
Shadow, will you just buy some fucking candy? Huh? Do you see me trying? I mean, look at this.
Huh? They're not gonna sell me any fucking candy! Well, Mama-ji just might kill you.
She already wants to kill me.
You know what? Fuck this.
Why me? Huh? Oh, not that again.
Yeah, this again.
Will you just tell me? Whimsy.
Why don't you just give me a fucking answer? Come on.
- You really want to know? - Yeah.
You really want to know why I picked you? Just tell me.
Well, I picked you because I needed someone with nothing to live for.
With nothing to go home for.
With no one to miss him or love him or give a shit if he lives or dies.
That's why I picked you, because you literally mean nothing to any living person.
Or any dead one either as far as I know.
You have no value, no worth in this world or the next.
Happy? Damn.
Good.
See, I've been here trying to make it all add up.
Oh.
Everything since we met.
Oh, really? How's that going for you? That little hamster in the wheel in your brain make it out yet? Well, the the only thing that makes any sense, the only explanation that fits all the facts, is that I do have value to you.
[CHUCKLES.]
See, I don't know why.
You don't want me to know why but You need me.
Don't you? I am handing you the future on a motherfucking platter.
I'm gonna need you to cut that edge pronto, and put some fucking garnish on it.
Show me.
MR.
WORLD: I never did see a God more effectively argue his own obsolescence.
What the fuck are you doing here? Well, go on then.
He's waiting.
Show him.
No? Then allow me.
[METRONOME TICKING.]
Hello, friend.
Hello, friend.
I was literally your only friend.
You lonely fuck.
I brought you into the presence of God.
It looks like he's forgotten about you.
Mistake.
[UP-TEMPO MUSIC.]
[GLITCHING.]
[MUSIC INTENSIFIES.]
[GRUNTS.]
Fuck! [SCREAMING.]
Wanna buy some candy? Candy? MR.
WORLD: There isn't a need to purchase candy.
I retired a God today.
GIRL SCOUTS: Access granted.
You killed Argus.
And you killed Zorya.
I am sorry about Zorya.
But when you strike with lightning, you should expect consequences.
Mess with my people, expect disproportionate consequences.
You got your man back.
It's the principle.
- [BELL RINGING.]
- MAN: Hello? - [BELL RINGING.]
- Hello? I'd like to pay.
I'd like to pay.
Have you seen what's happened to the world? It isn't 5s, 10s, or 20s anymore.
It isn't cash or gold.
It's zeros and ones, digitized and encrypted, sent down fiber-optic cables at the speed of light to accounts at banks with no physical location.
Money loves profit.
And war is always profitable.
It also moves people more than anything else.
It inflames their passions, something you would know nothing about.
And the more passionate they get, the more they spend, spend, spend.
You know that, Money.
You sit at the crossing of two rivers, waiting for a steamship that will never come.
Your kind aren't dying; they're dead.
Okay, enough.
I'm honored to have the big dogs in the God game begging at my table.
But money doesn't make emotional investments or invest in emotional entities.
Too much risk in such ventures.
Not enough opportunity.
You could always hedge your bets.
There's no deal here for you today, gentlemen.
- Money stays in the bank.
- [SIGHS.]
This is agreeable.
What a sad waste of capital.
I'm gonna win this one.
People like me more than they like you.
I prefer to be feared.
I'm not your enemy.
[SIGHS.]
[TOY TRAIN HOOTS.]
["MONEY [THAT'S WHAT I WANT.]
" playing.]
Your love give me such a thrill But your loving don't pay my bills I want money That's what I want That's what I want Oh Lord It don't get everything it's true What it don't get I can't use I want money That's what I want That's what I want Oh Lord Let me have a little bit now